RFID Enables Unmanned Store at Major Building Site

Using an RFID system solution from Turck Vilant Systems, wholesaler chain ProMart developed the “EasyMart” shop concept – self-service containers or store rooms that make fixing materials and tools available at any time and on any site

A great deal of valuable time is lost in the procurement of materials, regardless of whether this is due to long wait times or unnecessary journeys to wholesalers or warehouses. The problem in a nutshell is this: if the right equipment isn’t available, a worker has to drive off to replenish supplies, thus having an immediate negative impact on employee productivity, building progress and overall project costs. Avoiding these unfavorable effects requires the efficient management of material logistics and the building site has to have a continuous supply of tools and accessories. 

ProMart, specialists in innovative service concepts in the technical wholesale sector, developed the idea of the EasyMart store as a logical expansion of its multichannel strategy. The EasyMart store is an automated self-service shop that can be set up directly on the building site – for example, in a small store room or a standard container that can be transported easily to building sites.

RFID-based self-service concept

To implement this idea, ProMart looked for a system that could identify on site all the items taken as well as the several hundreds of users employed by subcontractors in a shipyard. This makes it possible to bill the consumed items without the deployment of personnel. RFID technology is particularly suitable for automated inventory management. With over ten years of experience in the design of self-service stores Turck Vilant Systems (TVS) was the ideal partner for this project. ProMart decided to make some adaptions to the standard package for self-service stores supplied by TVS.

  • The adaption of the product range to the requirements is fundamental to the success of the EasyMart Store

  • Hannu Pajula | ProMart

  • The EasyMart Store in can be set up easily anywhere – and transported on after construction

  • On accessing the store, employees identify themselves with their RFID card

  • The Turck Vilant Client logs and manages the store user’s entry, purchase and exit

  • All products are fitted with RFID tags so that they can be logged automatically at the checkout

  • The system creates fill lists and invoices based on the scans. ProMart thus controls its stock levels

RFID real-time system replaces laborious stocktaking

The key to a fully transparent goods flow in this application is the fact that RFID read devices only log the relevant goods movements and send this data in real-time to ProMart headquarters for further processing. This real-time inventory keeping provides up-to-date stock level information for the store at any time without employees having to pick up items in stock, count them and enter them in lists. The system automatically creates fill lists and invoices based on the scans. This also eliminates shutdowns or cost-intensive overtime outside of opening times to fully complete an inventory. 

The Turck Vilant RFID platform offers the option of managing user access rights and roles for each individual EasyMart store. This makes it possible to set up user roles that also provide the option of borrowing as well as buying items. Reservations can also be processed by the system.

Recording of users and goods flow

During commissioning, each user is instructed in the system and is provided with a personal RFID card to enable access. When users enter the store, they log in with their card for identification purposes. The Turck Vilant Client only allows one user to enter the read area at a time in order for goods movements to be assigned uniquely. After entering the store, the user takes the required products from the shelves just like in a supermarket. The user then enters the checkout area where the goods are automatically scanned without visual contact and shown to the user on a display. After checking the list, the user confirms the taken items. 
“In the beginning we had a concept about what EasyMart should be like,” says Hannu Pajula, development director at ProMart. “Turck Vilant Systems not only had the experience and a broad offering, but also a solution that we were able to jointly refine and develop in order to adapt it perfectly to ProMart’s requirements.”

Optimized range for every site

Planning the ideal product range for the particular place of use that is tailored to the requirements of each user is fundamental to the success of the EasyMart Store. The turnaround data for the individual products and categories of goods provided by the TVS servers enables precise optimization of the product ranges and, for example, the creation of automated fill lists. The restocking process is initiated on the basis of this data. ProMart thus has continuous control of its inventory levels and can ensure that all products are always in stock in any store in sufficient quantities.

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